Shopping for Movies

Most adults in this country shop for movies in a weird way. I’ve done this too, just not as much anymore. Most adults look for rated R. Rated G or PG has to be a kid’s movie, right? And who wants to see some stupid kid’s movie if we don’t have the kids with us? A PG-13 movie has to be some (even stupider) teen movie, right?

Of course, it’s all about perspective. For young children, the forbidden PG-13 movie is interesting and glamorous mostly because only big brother or sister can watch it. As a teen, sneaking into the R-rated movie was exciting, mostly because it’s forbidden.

Many people shop for movies by rating. It’s understandable, but wow, what a mess it creates. With adults and teens looking for R-rated movies, movie producers create R-rated movies. It doesn’t matter to them what the movie needs to tell the story well. They get the rating. How? With a lot of unneeded violence (and the occasional extraneous sex scene).

Many of us lament the unnecessary violence and garbage in movies, and we’re exactly right. All that excessive violence is completely unnecessary, except that that’s what it takes to get the R rating. And the R rating is what it takes to get (most) adults to watch the movie. It’s not even that the rating system is bad, but most people use it badly.

How to fix this? Adults can look for movies that appeal to them, even if they aren’t rated R. Some of the most meaningful, amazing movies ever are movies that anyone could watch. Reviewers often include who they think the movie will appeal to, if people would pay attention. Maybe some weeks there just aren’t any good movies at the cinema; we could always do something else!


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